The time seems ripe to look back on Lucky Spencer, given… well, this:
(They just can’t wait to erase Greg Vaughn from existence, can they? You stay classy, ABC promo monkeys!)
Anyway… THE RETURN OF JONATHAN JACKSON IS NIGH! As in TODAY! Holy crap!
As you may recall, we were pretty excited to hear about that. We’re not delusional; we know it’s probably going to suck. But at least it will suck in a way that’s slightly different than normal, and that should provide some interesting new mocking material for a month or two. Cross your fingers, everyone!
In preparation, let’s take a trip down memory lane to trace how the son of one of the most famous super couples of all time became the show’s biggest whipping boy:
The Jonathan Jackson Years, 1993-1999
(aka: The Golden Age)
Original Recipe Lucky was whip smart, good with computers, fast on his feet, mature beyond his years, and the apple of his family’s eye. He could be sensitive, loving, and empathetic. He could also be arrogant, judgmental, and cruel.
In short, he was a complex character, a believable teenager, and an interesting amalgamation of the flaws and virtues of both his legendary parents.
The Jacob Young Years, 2000-2003
(aka, The Unmitigated Disaster Years)
Poor Jacob Young. It’s really not his fault. He was horribly miscast to begin with, and being saddled with really unflattering writing didn’t help. The Ice Princess Redux? Endgame? Dead Ted? Face of Deception? Ugh.
He looked like a GQ model. He had zero chemistry with Rebecca Herbst. And the nickname Shouty McYellerson really did not spring out of nowhere. The dude was loud and obnoxious and pretty much the physical and temperamental opposite of Jonathan Jackson’s scrawny, clever Lucky in every way.
All in all: a disaster. I mean, there’s only so much brainwashing can excuse, you know?
The Greg Vaughn Years, 2003-2009
(aka, The Chump Years)
Greg Vaughn seems like a hard worker and a genuinely nice guy, but boy… his Lucky has been the epitome of Pretty But Dumb for almost his entire 6+ year run on the show.
GV’s Lucky never won at anything, was perpetually being lied to and otherwise disrespected by his loved ones, and at times seemed barely capable of crossing town on his own, much less the country. He was also painfully underwritten, a fact which even Vaughn will admit:
MICHAEL FAIRMAN: Is Lucky’s drug addiction storyline the work you are most proud of?
GREG VAUGHN: Obviously, because it was the only story I was ever given.
I don’t begrudge him his bitterness. Lucky’s been treated like crap by the writing for the last decade, and while I don’t think Vaughn is the strongest actor, he was capable of a lot more than what he was given. His brief but SMOKING relationship with Sam certainly proved that the lack of sparks with Elizabeth was not entirely his fault.
The one consistent bright spot of Vaughn’s tenure, however, has been Lucky’s evolution as a father. He’s great with the kids who play Jake and Cameron, and it translates really well on screen. If Jonathan Jackson’s redux version of the character loses that sense of closeness with the boys, I’ll be really sad.
Okay, confession time: I wish Greg Vaughn the best, but looking at those old school Lucky/Liz clips has made me unreasonably excited for today’s show. I wasn’t even that into them in the 90s — Sonny and Brenda were way too distracting. But in retrospect, they’re totally adorable.
(I’m setting myself up for a huge disappointment on this one, aren’t I?)
I DON’T CARE! I’M STILL EXCITED!